The Papal proxy, espresso & sopa

blind
The blind musician who’d recently had treatment, it appears.

WE WENT TO a Baptism party yesterday. The guest of honor was a new nephew named Pablo Kareem. He’s a cute, upbeat kid. I tried to convince the young parents not to name him Kareem, which is better suited for a basketball player or a Mohammedan terrorist, but they paid me no mind. Kareem it is. But Pablo first.

It began with a Mass, of course, but my child bride and I skipped that and went straight to the party. It took place in a Salón de Fiesta in the nearby capital city. These are rental spaces that can be large or small, nice or not so nice. Ours yesterday was large and nice, and the event went as they always do. People sitting at tables yelling over the music that’s either blaring from a loudspeaker or tunes from a live band. There was food too.

Yesterday’s was five-star pollo en mole.

It’s not really my scene, as we said in the old days. I usually have to flee after an hour or so due to the racket and my long legs being cramped below a folding table.

I got into the Honda and drove alone to the pink-stone, Colonial center of town. I parked and walked a few blocks to an area known, I believe, as el Jardín de las Rosas. There are lots of sidewalk cafés abutting the Jardín. I sat and ordered a double espreso and a sopa Tarasca, a regional soup that can range from spectacular to so-so.

Yesterday’s was near spectacular. I’m a winner.

I people-watched for over an hour. There were plenty of folks passing by. There were also strolling musicians, sidewalk hawkers and panhandlers. One of the musicians was an old blind singer with a guitar who was being led by a woman I suspect was his daughter.

I gave him 50 pesos, which is far more than I normally tip in those situations, but I was thinking, There but for the grace of God go I, or something like that.

Finally, I got a call from the party. It was time to return.

It was a fine afternoon. I liked el Jardín de las Rosas. My child bride enjoyed screaming over the music to her Mexican abundance of relatives. And Pablo Kareem slept through it all, but he got the Pope’s blessing by proxy. His soul’s a clean slate.

Perhaps mine once was too. I’ve never been baptized.

cafe
A shot from where I was sitting with espresso and sopa Tarasca.

19 thoughts on “The Papal proxy, espresso & sopa

    1. Ms. Shoes: The locals’ capacity for ear-splitting music and cramped seating is an endless source of amazement for me. However, I’ll concede that the music at yesterday’s shindig was not as loud as normal. Could have been far worse. But anyway, I still had to retreat.

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  1. I love that you could escape the fiesta, do your thing, and then return to collect your wife and move on. To not sit and endure something you would rather not be at is nothing short of magnificent in my book. Yay you!

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    1. Angeline: Yay me indeed. I possess certain advantages at these family things. One is that being Gringo I am automatically considered odd. Another is that I’m considerably older than all of them, giving me the “Respect Thy Elders” concession. I take advantage of all of it.

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  2. Felipe: At our age, and with our colorful histories, it’d probably take more than a quick baptismal sprinkle to clean-slate our souls. A scrubbing with a stiff brush might be needed.

    I’ve never been big on Mexican fiestas either, in which Stew and I invariably feel like a couple of Martians. We also last no more than a hour. Yesterday Felix invited me to a birthday fiesta for his 3-year-old niece. I thanked him profusely and took a pass.

    It was a good gesture, good for some good karma, to give the blind guitar player 50 pesos. As the Dalai Lama — one of your heroes — supposedly once said: “Never resist a generous impulse.”

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    1. Señor Lanier: A stiff brush made of wire, I imagine. You were wise to dodge the tot’s birthday bash.

      And the Dalai Lama is one of my heroes? Where did you get that notion? He’s better than many, of course, but there are more admirable individuals walking this green earth.

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    2. Señor Lanier, P.S.: I must have said something positive months or years back about the Daiai Lama, something I have forgotten but you have not. I forget a lot.

      It’s always good to keep in mind that the Dalai Lamas are pressed into the job in childhood. I imagine all manner of Dalai Lamas have passed through the position over the centuries. Some good, some less so. This one seems pretty good.

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    1. Nelson: While I am a YUGE fan of the Judeo-Christian tradition and wish it well, I personally have never had anything to do with Christianity in the slightest. My father was a non-believing socialist and my mother just tagged along. We never went to church, so it’s not something I was taught as a child. Were I to embrace any organized religion these days, it would be Buddhism.

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    2. Nelson, P.S.: I like my father’s take on organized religion. He maintained that trying to explain the universe to humans is akin to trying to explain the internal-combustion engine to a dog. Impossible.

      I enjoy pointing out that one’s religion, one’s holy book/scriptures that apply to the “entire universe.” depend mostly on two factors. One is your parents’ religion. Most everyone sticks to the same one. The other is where in the world you were born. If you were born in the United States, chances are overwhelming that you’re Christian. If you were born in China, chances are you’re either Confucian, Taoist or Buddhist. If you were born in India, you’re almost surely Hindu. Middle East? Mohammedan.

      I believe it’s possible to peek into the spirit realm, which is staggering, with the use of some natural products like peyote and psilocybin. I believe it because I have experienced it first-hand. It’s just a peek, but it’s eye-opening.

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  3. “One is that being Gringo I am automatically considered odd.”

    And, I must say, you’re doing a top notch job of lending credence to that consideration! Sticking around just long enough to scarf the mole and split probably had some tongues wagging!

    Just out of curiosity, have you ever been asked to be someone’s padrino? If so, did you accept or reject?

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    1. Gerard: I embrace my oddness, not just here in Mexico but above the border too. All over, actually. As for tongues wagging, no tongues wag more often than Mexican tongues, especially those connected to the womenfolk. I imagine you know that.

      Yes, I was corralled into being a godfather once, about two years ago. I won’t permit it again, however, and I wonder how they even let me do it in the first place. I was dragooned. I am not Catholic, not even a little bit. On second thought, I guess I was allowed to slip through the ceremony door due to the priest’s attention being distracted by money. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more corrupt church than the Catholic. Not just financially corrupt, but all the boy-buggering that goes on too. It was the second or third time I’d been asked to be a godfather. I’d managed to weasel out of it before. Can’t recall now why I accepted that last time.

      Ironically, or something like that, my godson, who is almost 3 now, bursts into hysteria at the mere sight of me. The rest of my great-nephews/nieces like me a lot, but not that one.

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    1. Carole: Here’s how his terrors of me got started. When he was about a year old, my wife was walking with him in the plaza. I was sitting at a sidewalk table at my sister-in-law’s coffee shop, with my back to the plaza. Said wife returns with kid in arms and suddenly, surprising both the kid and me, plops him into my lap. I was wearing sunglasses and a black hat. The kid looks at me and starts screaming. It caught him totally by surprise.. Me too. Here, about two years later, he still blanches on spotting me. Odd, huh?

      So, it’s really her fault. We figured that during the baptism ceremony, he’d freak out on seeing me, but so many other things were going on, he didn’t pay me much mind, and we made it through in relative peace.

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  4. When I am pressed into service to attend a fiesta, I don my politico personality. I go from table to table introducing myself as if I were a cross between Teddy Roosevelt and Nelson Rockefeller. It tends to work. When I am done, I briefly chat up the host and mysteriously disappear.

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    1. Señor Cottton: I do something similar, but I don’t introduce myself much because I usually know most of the people there. I just shake hands, do the hug thing when necessary, sit a spell … and vanish.

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  5. Felipe,

    I remember the sopas tarasca. We had it in two different places in Pátzcuaro. The first was in a place near or on the plaza. It tasted like a can of Chef Boyardee spaghettios. The second was at the hole-in-the-wall restaurant you recommended to us a few blocks off the plaza. It was delicious! That lady can cook. She and her family are also very kind. Everything we had there was awesome. Is she still open? Have you been there lately?

    Regards,
    Troy

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    1. Troy: I imagine you’re talking about Gardenias. They just this week reopened in a new location on Calle Dr. Coss not far from the main plaza. They were closed about two weeks during the move. As you discovered, it is a very good place to eat. We’ll be trying out the new location soon, I imagine. There is some talk of reservations. I hope that does not become necessary because we don’t eat at places that require reservations.

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